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This article was published 6/3/2012 (2944 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
OTTAWA — Video attacks and threats made against Public Safety Minister Vic Toews on YouTube breached Toews' parliamentary privilege, the Speaker of the House of Commons ruled Tuesday.
Andrew Scheer said MPs should be free of threats.
The hacker group Anonymous posted several videos threatening to divulge personal details of Toews’ life if he did not withdraw the Internet spying bill and resign as minister of public safety.
The videos use a robotic voice and the image of someone in a mask. They generally end with the threat: "We are legion, do not forgive, we do not forget, we are here."
Toews made a motion have the Anonymous videos studied by the procedures and House affairs committee.
The Commons can now debate whether to order the hackers to appear before a committee.
It's unclear how Parliament would find the people behind the video. As its name suggests, the group does not publicize its membership.
That's not to say they can't be found. Twenty-five suspected members of the group were recently arrested in sweeps across Europe and South America as part of an Interpol investigation into co-ordinated cyberattacks in Colombia and Chile.
Speaker Scheer dismissed two of the three claims of privilege Toews made related to the Vikileaks issue.
The first — related to the actual @Vikileaks30 Twitter account — Scheer said was finished because the Liberals apologized. A Liberal staffer, Adam Carroll, was found to be behind the anonymous attacks which saw personal details of Toews’ divorce file released on Twitter.
Scheer said the account was an improper use of House resources. The computer used by Carroll was traced to a Parliament Hill IP address.
Scheer also dismissed the privilege request by Toews, who said the overwhelming amount of emails and contacts he received as a result of Vikileaks made it impossible for him to do his job as an MP.
The Vikileaks issue erupted last month after Toews introduced the bill and suggested a Liberal MP stood with pedophiles because he criticized the legislation. The bill would allow the government to force Internet service providers to give police or the government information about their clients including names, addresses, emails, phone numbers and IP addresses, all without a warrant.
Critics slammed the bill as an invasion of privacy and said if the government needs such information a warrant should be required to get it. The government countered by saying sometimes the information is needed in order to get a warrant. While much of the information is available to the government anyway, access to the IP address – a code that identifies specific computers on the Internet – could give the government the ability to track certain movements online.
The Twitter account opened with a line "Vic wants to know about you. Let’s get to know Vic."
The Ottawa Citizen traced the user to an IP address on the Hill. While there are only four IP addresses used by computers on Parliament Hill, Scheer’s office managed to track the use to Adam Carroll, an aide in the Liberal Research Bureau.
Carroll resigned Feb. 27 after Scheer let the Liberals know Carroll was @Vikileaks30. Liberal Party Leader Bob Rae publicly apologized to Toews in the House of Commons that same day.
Updated on Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 5:48 PM CST: Adds background info.